Articles Posted in Class Action

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Florencio Pacleb filed a class action complaint against Allstate, alleging that he received unsolicited automated calls to his cell phone in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. 227. Allstate deposited $20,000 in full settlement of Pacleb’s individual monetary claims in an escrow account “pending entry of a final District Court order or judgment directing the escrow agent to pay the tendered funds to Pacleb, requiring Allstate to stop sending non-emergency telephone calls and short message service messages to Pacleb in the future and dismissing this action as moot.” The court affirmed the district court's order denying Allstate’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court concluded that, even if the district court entered judgment affording Pacleb complete relief on his individual claims for damages and injunctive relief, mooting those claims, Pacleb would still be able to seek class certification under Pitts v. Terrible Herbst, Inc., which remains good law under Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co. The court also concluded that, even if Pitts were not binding, and Allstate could moot the entire action by mooting Pacleb’s individual claims for damages and injunctive relief, those individual claims are not now moot, and the court will not direct the district court to moot them by entering judgment on them before Pacleb has had a fair opportunity to move for class certification. View "Chen v. Allstate Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Appellants and appellees are two teams of named plaintiffs and their respective lawyers who disagree over the proper direction for a consumer class action settlement. In Radcliffe I, the court held that appellees created a conflict of interest by conditioning incentive awards for the class representatives on their approval of the proposed settlement agreement. On remand, appellants moved the district court to disqualify appellees’ counsel from representing the class based on that conflict. The court agreed with the district court that California does not apply a rule of automatic disqualification for conflicts of simultaneous representation in the class action context, and concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that appellees’ counsel will adequately represent the class. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's denial of the qualification motion. View "Radcliffe v. Experian Info. Solutions" on Justia Law

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Google's AdWords program is an auction-based program through which advertisers would bid for Google to place their advertisements on websites. Pulaski and others filed a putative class action alleging that Google misled them as to the types of websites on which their advertisements could appear. On appeal, Pulaski challenged the district court's denial of class certification, holding that on the claim for restitution, common questions did not predominate over questions affecting individual class members. The court held that a court need not make individual determinations regarding entitlement to restitution. Instead, restitution is available on a class wide basis once the class representative makes the threshold showing of liability. Therefore, the court concluded that the district court erred in holding that such individual questions would predominate. In Yokoyama v. Midland National Life Insurance Co., the court held that damage calculations alone cannot defeat certification. The court concluded that Yokoyama remains the law of the court and the district court erred in not following the rule in Yokoyama. Finally, the court concluded that the proposed method for calculating restitution was not “arbitrary” under Comcast Corp. v. Behrend. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Pulaski & Middleman, LLC v. Google, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a malpractice suit against Milberg and others for failing to meet the discovery requirements in the Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company, Inc. (VALIC) class action. On appeal, Intervenor-plaintiff-appellant Lance Laber challenged the district court's denial of plaintiffs' motion for class certification. The court concluded that the district court properly applied the choice-of-law rules of Arizona, the forum state. However, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings, concluding that the district court erred in holding that the law of each class member’s home state governed his or her individual claim, rather than the law of Arizona where the alleged malpractice occurred. View "Bobbitt v. Milberg LLP" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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Plaintiffs, seeking to represent a class of service technicians, filed suit against his employer, Hobart, and its parent company, ITW, alleging that Hobart did not compensate its technicians for the time they spent commuting in Hobart’s service vehicles from their homes to their job sites and from those job sites back home, and that Hobart failed to provide its technicians with meal and rest breaks. The district court denied the class certification and granted partial summary judgment to defendants. The district court also determined that plaintiff did not comply with the notice requirements of California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), Cal. Lab. Code 2698 et seq. The court concluded that the district court erred in denying class certification because it evaluated the merits rather than focusing on whether the questions presented - meritorious or not - were common to the class; the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that the proposed class failed to meet the requirements of Rule 23(b) because questions as to why service technicians missed their meal and rest breaks would predominate over questions common to the class; in regard to plaintiff's commute-time claim, the court concluded that there was a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether Hobart requires technicians to use its vehicles for their commute; and the district court properly dismissed the PAGA claim because plaintiff's letter is insufficient to allow the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to intelligently assess the seriousness of the alleged violations. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Alcantar v. Hobart Service" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against First American, seeking to represent a class of similarly-situated home buyers and alleging that First American engaged in a national scheme of paying the title agencies things of value in exchange for the title agencies’ agreement to refer future title insurance business to First American, in violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), 12 U.S.C. 2601–2617. The district court denied plaintiff's motion for class certification. The court concluded that section 2607(c)(2) cannot apply to First American’s transactions as a matter of law, so the district court erred in relying on section 2607(c)(2) to determine the propriety of class certification. The district court erred in concluding that the common issue does not predominate over individual issues for the proposed class members. Here, plaintiffs contends that First American utilized a nationwide scheme of buying minority interests in the title agencies in order to secure remittance streams from the agencies’ future referrals. This common scheme, if true, presents a significant aspect of First American’s transactions that warrant class adjudication: Whether First American paid a thing of value to get its agreement for exclusive referrals. Therefore, the court vacated the district court’s denial of class certification in part as to these transactions that involved the common scheme presented to First American’s board of directors. The court also concluded that, even if other service providers may have also influenced the home buyers’ decision to choose First American, there remains a predominant, common question of whether the title agencies’ contractual obligations affirmatively influenced the home buyer’s choice of First American. First American's transactions with the newly-formed agencies at issue do not share common questions of fact between First American and the transactions with the preexisting title agencies and thus do not require common proof to resolve the validity of each of the class members’ claims. The court affirmed the district court’s denial of class certification in part as to the newly-formed title agencies, vacated the district court’s denial of class certification in part as to the remaining title agencies, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Edwards v. The First American Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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The district court, in evaluating whether it had jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, 28 U.S.C. 1332(d), over the removed action, analyzed this consolidated case as though it remained two separate class actions, and concluded that CAFA’s local controversy exception applied to the first-filed class action, Bridewell-Sledge v. Blue Cross of California, but that the exception did not apply to the second-filed class action, Crowder v. Blue Cross of California. The court held that it was improper for the district court to view Bridewell-Sledge and Crowder as two separate class actions after they had been consolidated by the state court. In this case, the Bridewell-Sledge/Crowder consolidated class action should have been viewed by the district court as a single class action when evaluating jurisdiction under CAFA. Once it is recognized that the two cases became one, it is clear that CAFA’s local controversy exception applies to the consolidated class action, and, therefore, the district court was required to remand the entire Bridewell-Sledge/Crowder consolidated class action to state court. View "Bridewell-Sledge v. Blue Cross of CA" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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Plaintiffs alleged in five separate tort cases that they, or the deceased individuals they represent, suffered from pancreatic cancer due to their use of incretin-based therapies for diabetes, including those developed by Defendant Merck and other defendant drug companies. Merck removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(11)(A), (B), and plaintiffs moved to remand the cases. The district court denied the motions for remand and subsequent motions for reconsideration. The court held, however, that plaintiffs' petitions for permission to appeal removal to federal court were timely because a timely motion for reconsideration of an order denying or granting a motion for remand under 28 U.S.C. 1453(c)(1) restarts the ten-day period during which a party may file a petition for permission to appeal. The court further held that in none of the five cases did plaintiffs propose that the claims of one hundred or more persons be tried jointly and therefore, the cases do not constitute a mass action under CAFA. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded with instructions to grant plaintiffs' motions to remand. View "Briggs v. Merck Sharp & Dohme" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Arch based upon allegations of numerous violations by Arch of the California Labor Code. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the denial of her motion to remand this matter to the Superior Court after Arch removed it pursuant to the provisions of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1446, 1453(b). The court reversed the district court's determination that it had diversity jurisdiction over the action and remanded. The court held that where a plaintiff files an action containing class claims as well as non-class claims, and the class claims do not meet the CAFA amount-in-controversy requirement while the nonclass claims, standing alone, do not meet diversity of citizenship jurisdiction requirements, the amount involved in the non-class claims cannot be used to satisfy the CAFA jurisdictional amount, and the CAFA diversity provisions cannot be invoked to give the district court jurisdiction over the non-class claims. View "Yocupicio v. PAE Grp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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Plaintiffs filed suit against the defendant companies, alleging that they engaged in illegal debt collection practices in the course of carrying out non-judicial foreclosures. Defendants removed the action to federal district court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d), 1453, 1711. The district court subsequently dismissed the complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). The court concluded that that Sparta Surgical Corporation v. NASD does not apply in the present circumstances and that the district court abused its discretion in denying plaintiffs leave to amend. The court's holding, that plaintiffs should be permitted to amend a complaint after removal to clarify issues pertaining to federal jurisdiction under CAFA, is necessary in light of Coleman v. Estes Express Lines, Inc. In this case, a class of exclusively Nevada plaintiffs has filed suit against six defendants, one of which is Nevada domiciled; the alleged misconduct took place exclusively in the state of Nevada; and the one Nevada domiciled defendant was allegedly responsible for between 15–20 percent of the wrongs alleged by the entire class. Therefore, the court concluded that plaintiffs have met their burden to show that this case qualifies for the “local controversy exception.” Accordingly, the court reversed and vacated the district court's judgment, remanding with instructions. View "Benko v. Quality Loan Serv. Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action